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Finding Minnesota: A Game Of Drones

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A local business has created what may be the first drone obstacle course in the U.S.

Extreme Sandbox, in Hastings, lets visitors fly drones over, through and under various hurdles in an open field.

Owner Randy Stenger said once customers learn the basics of taking off and landing, they can take on trickier challenges.

"We have set obstacles, things they can fly through like big hoops," he said. "We've got tennis balls on (construction) cones that they'll knock off using the little skids on the drones."

The idea came somewhat by accident. The main attraction at Extreme Sandbox is heavy equipment. For three years, people have been paying to operate a bulldozer, excavator or skid steer as a way of satisfying a lifelong curiosity.

As a bonus, the company bought a drone to shoot aerial footage for customers, but then the drone stole the spotlight.

"What we noticed was, we would have a group of people around us that would basically be just in awe of this thing flying," Stenger said.

Extreme Sandbox, Drone, Rick Stenger, Finding Minnesota, Mike Binkley
(credit: CBS)

Now, the drones are part of a growing list of grown-up toys. A fire truck joined the collection two years ago, and remote control cars in April.

Stenger has built his business with inspiration from his three young sons, and the joy they get when they play.

"Everyone's got that kid deep down inside of them," he said. "And now we've been able to build a business around letting that kid come out and play."

The company hosts a lot of group outings like team-building events, but individuals age 14 and older are welcome too.

Send us your Finding Minnesota ideas here.

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